The Taliban has said it does know how Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui came in between the line of fire and expressed sorrow over the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s death in Afghanistan's Kandahar during their clashes against Afghan forces. “We are not aware during whose firing the journalist was killed. We do not know how he died," Taliban’s spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN-News18 on Friday.
“Any journalist entering the war zone should inform us. We will take proper care of that particular individual," Mujahid was quoted as saying by CNN-News18. “We are sorry for Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui’s death. We regret that journalists are entering war zone without intimation to us," he added.
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Saturday said Afghan authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the killing of Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni wrote that the agency was "urgently seeking more information" about the circumstances surrounding the journalist's death.
"The death today of Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui is a tragic notice that even as the US and its partners withdraw forces, journalists will continue to work in Afghanistan, documenting whatever comes next at great risk to their lives," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, in Washington, DC.
"Combatants need to take responsibility for safeguarding journalists, as dozens of journalists have been killed in this conflict, with little or no accountability." According to CPJ, Siddiqui was embedded with Afghan special forces at the time of his death and was covering fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters, according to those reports. He told his employer that he had been wounded in the arm by shrapnel earlier today while reporting, and had resumed work after receiving medical treatment.
Siddiqui was talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked and was killed in a subsequent crossfire, an Afghan commander told Reuters.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters that the group had not been aware there was a journalist on the scene and said it was unclear how Siddiqui was killed.
Siddiqui was a member of the Reuters photography team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for "shocking photographs that exposed the world to violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar."